Councillor Richard Johnson, the Executive Councillor for Communities at the Labour led Cambridge City Council, has said that the Council is working hard to support children living in poverty in the City after a landmark report was published on the state of child health in the UK, which found a clear link between poverty and poor child health outcomes. A report from the think tank Centre for Cities also found that Cambridge was the most unequal city in terms of income distribution.
Councillor Johnson said: “More than 4000 children in Cambridge already live in poverty. In some wards such as King's Hedges, East Chesterton, Abbey and Arbury that includes at least one third of children but every city ward has children affected by poverty. Poverty damages childhood and damages the life chances of children who also miss out on simple childhood events that we take for granted. For some families even providing a hot meal in the school holidays can be a struggle which is why we helped to fund over a thousand free lunches in venues in the north, east and south of the city last summer.
Tackling poverty remains a key priority for the Labour City Council. This year we will be investing another £100,000 into our Sharing Prosperity Fund, which will continue to help a large number of projects supporting children and families."
Councillor Johnson added: "The causes of child poverty are clear - the lack of genuinely affordable housing, a low wage economy and the changes to welfare and housing benefit since 2010. They drive the increase in children in poverty just as they drive the increase in homelessness. The government abandoned Labour’s target to eradicate child poverty by 2020 and have changed the definition of what child poverty is to suit their austerity agenda.
The roll-out of Universal Credit is particularly worrying with recent reports showing that, in pilot areas, the percentage of council tenants on Universal Credit in rent arrears has increased massively. Continuing our support through our Anti-Poverty Strategy, the Sharing Prosperity Fund and the City's Housing Department is vital to help families and children break through the barriers they face as a result of poverty."